Mt. Carbon train derailment survivor reflects after five years

FALLS VIEW, WV (WOAY) – Sunday marked the five-year anniversary of the trail derailment explosion in Mt. Carbon in Fayette County. Millions of gallons of crude oil spilled over when a CSX train went off the tracks because of a damaged rail causing a major explosion.

Despite the damage, there were no major injuries, but Morris Bounds’ house was completely flattened.

Bounds was home on that Monday afternoon in Mt. Carbon. He lived right on the train tracks, and when he left his bedroom to go into the kitchen, he heard the tracks start to break, and that’s when he looked out the window.

“And here came those tanks down the mountain at me,” he said. “And I turned around to run. I had a straight shot to the living room door. And I heard wood breaking and glass flying before I got out of the house, and I ran straight out the door, and as I went down the steps, I noticed I had a fire on both sides of the house going out.”

While the explosion engulfed his home, his daughter, Sarah Anderson, watched from Ohio in horror.

“And I just happened to look on Facebook, and I see all these news channels, everybody, everything. It’s national news. I see it, and I’m like, ‘What is going on?’ And then I see a post from my brother saying, ‘God, help me.’ And I just panic. And I’m realizing, ‘Oh my goodness. This is my home that I grew up in. This is my parent’s home,’” Anderson said.

Anderson had just been there the day before taking care of her mother, Patty, during her open heart surgery.

Patty was home recovering, and then just days before the explosion was re-admitted to the hospital with the flu. Bounds’ son had left the house just before the explosion to get a snow shovel. While some might call all of this luck, Bounds says divine intervention.

“Timing was so perfect,” he said. “For her to go back, you know, and my wife went to the hospital. My son forgot his shovel. I walk out of the bedroom at the precise time. If I hadn’t came out of the bedroom when I did, I would have been trapped.”

But the family made it and now sits down to enjoy lunch five years later. Much of their past was flattened with the house along with family photos and Bounds’ artifacts collection, but in a new home with his wife and children around, he counts his blessings.

“I miss those things, but we’re really blessed that nobody got hurt in that, and you know, we’re doing well. God takes care of us.”

Bounds has a written testimony he likes to share about his experience, and he plans to one day write a book.

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.